Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1966 – Manfred Mann, kittens and Georgy Girl

I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

It is 1966 and music is going through a transition as Pop and Rock begin to take centre stage. I was looking at the top 100 UK music sales for 1966 whilst picking this week’s music memory and the top ten songs illustrate that transition very clearly.

  1. Jim Reeves with Distant Drums
  2. Frank Sinatra – Strangers in the Night,
  3. The Beatles – Yellow Submarine and Eleanor Rigby,
  4. The Four Tops – Reach Out I’ll Be There,
  5. Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking,
  6. The Walker Brothers – The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,
  7. Tom Jones – Green Green Grass of Home
  8. The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon
  9. Troggs – With a Girl Like You
  10. One of my favourites of that year Manfred Mann with Pretty Flamingo.

The films that year were also pretty epic A Man for all Seasons, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Alfie and Georgy Girl with its wonderful score. The Blue Max with the gorgeous George Peppard and James Mason which was stunning and had me in bits when I saw the film in the cinema. However, the top grossing US film that year was The Bible: In the Beginning.

We were in our second year at Inskip where my father was CO. We lived in quarters in the small village rather than on the station and our house backed onto a huge compound of abandoned Nissen Huts.

The camp had been used for displaced refugees after the Second World War but 20 years later nature had taken over the crumbling metal shelters. I was 13 and hitting my teenage angst years and did not respond well to being banned from exploring this wilderness. I know that my parents were concerned that I might be injured or worse but hey what do parents know?

I found a break in the fence that surrounded the camp and when I was allegedly cycling the quite lanes of our rural surroundings, I was actually sifting through the wreckage. I discovered that it was not just undergrowth that had steadily infiltrated the buildings but also a large number of feral cats. Runaways and offspring from the local farms in the area that had found sanctuary and plenty of rodents to enable them to thrive.

This safari into this Lancashire wilderness resulted in my first encounter with a feral cat. One Saturday morning as I strolled through the weed covered roads in the camp; I heard a faint mewling sound coming from one of the huts. I managed to track the particular building down and entered carefully through the collapsed doorway. Part of the concrete floor had given way and had produced a deep hole which had filled with the recent and torrential rain through the holes in the metal roof.

Image by Argelia Aguilar from Pixabay

On the other side of this large hole was a small white kitten with orange spots crying its eyes out. It was only a few weeks old and I would imagine that its mother had the litter in the safety of the back of the hut. I could see that there were two unmoving little bodies behind the kitten and judging by its weak cry this little chap was in trouble too. I thought probably the mother had gone out hunting but had met with an accident, perhaps on the busy road in the village and had been unable to return.

I began calling back to the kitten but I couldn’t reach it from my position because the water in the hole in the floor was obviously deep and probably filled with dangerous debris. I managed however to find a small opening at the back of the hut at waist height that I widened and climbed through. The kitten of course scurried off into the dark corners of the hut and it did take about an hour to finally coax it out far enough to grab. Bearing in mind that it was only a few weeks old it was pretty feisty and a few scratches were inflicted.

However, I carried the little mite home and announced to my long suffering parents that we now had a cat! They insisted that it was housed safely in the shed until such time as it had been checked for fleas but eventually Snowy was allowed in the house to become part of the family along with our Labrador Honey.

Naturally I had to explain where I had found our new family member which resulted in a series of appropriate sanctions!

Looking back over the choices for the music that best sums up that year for me, apart from Pretty Flamingo, it would probably be Georgy Girl the title song of the film – my second name is Georgina and I was going through that awkward phase between child and young woman with all its insecurities – the lyrics seemed personal.

“Georgy Girl”, written by Tom Springfield (music) and Jim Dale (lyrics), is the title song performed by The Seekers for the film of the same name.

Here is a clip with the title song Georgy Girl with Lynn Redgrave in a wonderful film that is worth watching in full…HD Film Tributes

Buy or watch Georgy Girl: Amazon

Images: Nissan Hut:  Dreamstime – Kitten: Argelia Aguilar from Pixabay

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane.. next time 1967 and the music I was listening to and the movies I watched.